Gallery: Kite Power Could Generate Energy for 100,000 Homes

The Laddermill

If we told you that a free-flying kite could provide enough energy to power your house, you might consider us crazy. How about all the homes on your block, or even an entire city? Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands recently tested just such a technology, tethering a 10 square meter kite to a generator to produce 10 kilowatts of power (enough energy for 10 homes). They are currently planning to scale the experiment with a 50 kilowatt kite and a 100 megawatt array called the Laddermill that could potentially power 100,000 homes!

We’ve covered high-flying examples of solar and wind power in the past, and we’re always captivated by such inspired approaches to alternative energy.

The promise of kite power lies in its inexpensive materials and its potential to harness enormous amounts of power, since high altitude winds can carry hundreds of times more energy than those on the ground. Airborne kites produce power by pulling on a ground-bound generator, which reels the kites back once they reach their maximum height. Also, unlike a field-full of wind turbines, kite power requires a minimal amount of land use.

Researchers at Delft University of Technology plan to follow up on their successful test with the Laddermill, an array of kites that will soar up to 30,000 feet, generating around 100 megawatts of electricity. Check out‘s video of the test flight below!

+ Delft University of Technology

+ Laddermill



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  1. Energy-Generating Kite ... August 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    […] landscape architecture studio Paisajes Emergentes recently unveiled plans for an energy-generating kite farm on a public beach in Abu Dhabi. Tethered to flexible posts, 200 para-kites would use the innovative […]

  2. Re-leaf August 13, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Hi bobofet – did you also notice the wind is blowing the wrong direction in that image…

  3. Fred August 10, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Innovative. Equivalently, put some waterballoons (simlar stuff) underneath the sea, and utilize the waterflow to push or drag a \\\”ground-bound\\\” generator. ^_^

  4. bobofet August 6, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    The top photo was taken on top of Diamond Head in Hawaii, and I know for sure that that does not exist at Kapiolani Park. Nice idea, though.

  5. thinksketch August 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Nice, Im glad these ideas are being tested with great results… I have a few other strange ideas to offer – including harnessing moving glaciers. Watch my June 08 Pecha Kucha presentation I gave in San Francisco if you’re interested.


  6. earthsmile August 6, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I’m glad that when I went to their ‘\Laddermill’ site, the word ‘inflatables’ was used. In low wind conditions… having units that are bouyant, due to being inflated, will be a necessity. I also think that staying out of the aircraft lanes will be essential. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Remember the windsails for large cargo ships ? Maybe there’s a blend between these 2 technologies that would work ? If so, the cost of shipping, recently risen due to oil’s price rise, could be lessened.

  7. RichardMillington August 6, 2008 at 5:33 am

    That’s really brilliant. I never stop being amazed by all the possible alternatives there are to fossil fuels. Surely with just the slightest inkling of dedication a program like this could work?

  8. santiago August 6, 2008 at 5:10 am

    its remarkable, great innovation, idea and solution
    best of luck with this awesome tech. writting from chile

  9. Jac August 6, 2008 at 1:05 am

    that’s so f******* cool!!!

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